Almost everyone in our age group knows someone who is unemployed. Not because that person is lazy, but because the lowest percentage of Americans age 16 to 29 are employed since World War II, with 55% of young adults employed. If we dwell on the fact that many of those jobs are not careers, and many of those are part-time, the picture gets bleaker.
We haven’t had the time, nor reason, to develop the near-ubiquitous attitude of conservative Americans: “Well, things worked out for me. Why wouldn’t they work out for everyone?”
I’m going to avoid citing various facts about how students are crushed by loans that were sold to us through brochures about high-priced colleges and unemployable career prospects fed to us by go-lucky culture that raised us in a fantasy world fueled by the belief that, if you just did what you loved, things would work out.
The fact is, at this point, a lot of us know that we should have majored in something differently. Or tried to somehow afford a college degree. A lot of people argue that we should have known that all along. On behalf of my generation, I extend our deepest apologies for being idealists in our adolescence and majoring in things capitalism doesn’t like, such as education, social services, and environmental studies.
We saw parents struggle with unemployment after years of working up a ladder. We saw the friends of parents devastated by the loss of a job, a home, and health insurance, all the while struggling to pay for exorbitant college tuition fees outpacing inflation by 500% and taking care of younger kids at home. In part, this experience could explain why 47 percent of millennials have a negative view of capitalism.